Family and Loved Ones,
I am not sure what to say! Computer time?!?!?! I hope to be able to upload pictures, but the computer isn't currently allowing "access" to my card. I said a mini-prayer and will try again at the end.
I am thriving in the MTC! My companion is Sister Taylor. She is an absolute blessing here! We look the same, finish each other's sentences, and get along SO WELL. I feel very fortunate about that. For some reason, I can only think in short sentences right now, though my mind and heart want to unravel all of the wonderful feelings I have experienced onto this email! Email - and English - seem insufficient, but I will do my best.
The first day at the MTC (Wednesday, May 1st) was GREAT. My host remembered me from BYU many semesters ago. There are four sisters in my district and two in the one next door. We all share one dorm with four desks and four mini dressers. Yes, a French-Tahitian party! Uh, a reverent party ;) Luckily, virtually none of our clothing needs to be hung, except an item here or there, so the limited closet space works out. Three bunk beds would make the room seem small if we didn't get along so chummily! We are all going to Tahiti at the same time (July 15th) and LOVE each other. (P.S. They already gave us a tentative release date, which feels weird: October 26th.) Soeur Taylor and I have been diligent (the only ones on our floor, actually!) who have made a commitment to attend every single morning exercise class in addition to our regularly scheduled gym time. Sisters have the additional option of getting up early (5:45 for us) to attend a 30 minute class from 6-6:30 am. We grab a sack breakfast on the way back and have class at 7am. This means we have about 15 minutes to shower and get ready for the day, but that's okay, we have learned to speed shower! The extra exercise time is a tender mercy. I am so happy Soeur Taylor loves going with me!
The rest of our district includes four elders. Three are 18, one is 19. We have become fast friends. Our novelty elder is Elder Lovelock (yes, that's his real name!) who is from Australia. He is rather reserved (and our DL) but makes the occasional hilarious comment. His accent keeps the class amused for hours. The other day he interjected, during a conversation with the Elders about breakfast foods... "Ah wawful eyeorhn? Why in the whorld would your need to eyeorn a wauful?" (Phonetic spelling, so you can imagine the accent hahaha) Another elder, Elder Hansen, keeps accidentally saying the "ice cream of Jesus Christ" instead of the "gospel of Jesus Christ" during French class. Plenty of laughs in the classroom haha :) Those of you who have been to the MTC....Soeur Taylor and I discovered a secret room! Off of a particular hall in a certain building, there is a bathroom. Inside the bathroom is a tiny door that leads to... guess what?! A small room with two beds, a lamp, and a TV! Of course, we do not take a break to watch TV, having long ago decided on exact obedience, but it is fun to poke our heads into our little secret room between classes and delight in our OWN MTC secret.
Soeur Taylor and I work really well together in regards to preparing lessons and studying. The first day we had a "mock lesson" with the WHOLE LOT of new missionaries. A faux investigator (excellent actor, though) had a living room set up in front of the room, and we were instructed to teach him. Soeur Taylor and I lead the discussion in two of the three rooms and really rocked it! Okay, back to humility. Neither of us are very outgoing by nature, but one of our teachers said that "If you don't talk, you will never learn anything" so we made a goal to be courageous and have been steadily improving in our teaching ability and comfort ever since. I love teaching!! I love being a missionary!! We currently have one Tahitian investigator named Manuarii Noho (Mah noo are ee Noh Hoe) who we have been teaching. We are the first companionship to teach every time he comes and have been doing well, I suppose, because the first time we taught him his eyes were shining. Teaching is such a great experience. I want to do it all the time! Yes, I know that Manuarii will likely be our other teacher once we begin learning Tahitian, but we make the most out of the chance to teach him in French for now. It is great to have some practice runs before the real thing. Or, errr, 11 weeks of practice runs! Hooray! We are going to be MTC All Stars. My BYU friends, you get the reference ;)
French has been going well. Elder White has had a bit of French, but the rest of our district are newbies. I spend most of my study time helping the others with their language by drilling them, holding mini lessons, and helping them translate their lessons. I love teaching Manuarii because it is the only time I get to let my French fly! It is not perfect, but man does it feel good to move past basic lessons. I am impressed by the members in our district. They are solid in their testimonies and diligent in their desires to learn.
I wish I could tell you everything I have been learning! But there isn't ever enough time in the day for required activities, let alone journal or letter writing. I am doing my best! I started reading the Book of Mormon again in French the other day and have been focusing on the principle of ACTION in 1 Nephi. Take a look. One particular thing I found interesting is the phrase "and it came to pass" which we generally just blow over. Another way to say it would be "and because of these actions, it happened that..." looking at it like that really helps connect the commandments, actions, and consequences. Another amazing thing you learn at the MTC, which is expressed well in a couplet from "Come Ye Fount of Every Blessing" ..."here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I've come, and I hope by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXVwHONoLjE OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPKpkrqBwNs At the MTC I have learned that when we are completely dependent on God, a miracle takes place. Complete dependence renders very real courage, which seemed like a contradiction until I experienced it myself.
My first Sunday at the MTC was fast day, and BOY was that an experience. We had dinner at 4pm on Saturday and 6pm the next day. That's right. A 26-hour fast! We were exactly obedient and had not a drop of food or water in between, regardless of the colds that Soeur Taylor and I are suffering through. Yeah! If we can fast when we are exhausted and sick, we can do anything! Whenever we would start to feel the hunger or the weakness Soeur Taylor would say to me (or vise versa... and I even said it to myself)...."Tell it to the pioneers, Sister Bradshaw!" hahaha. That kept us going.
It is easy to forget about everything at the MTC. I only have one purpose here, to bring others to Christ. What a strange and wonderful way to live! Every night, after our 17 hour days, I lay in bed and feel SO exhausted, but so fulfilled and full of peace. God takes care of His missionaries, and I feel that promise and comfort as I fall asleep each night. Every distraction has melted from my mind and I am content :) I am so happy for such supportive friends and family! Thank you for all of your support! Mom, Dad, Oliver, Lauren, etc... I LOVED your notes! Thank you so much! Dear Elders are wonderful to receive! We like to know that we are being thought of and remembered, and Dear Elders are the best way to do that at the moment. Even if it is just a line or two, keep them coming! http://www.dearelder.com/index/inc_name/letter_sender/mission/Provo%20MTC/
Sister Rebecca Bradshaw MTC Box #174 Tahiti July 2013
Or use Email: firstname.lastname@example.org I can't check my gmail account or my facebook, sorry :(
Also, read D&C 31:6 --- a great promise for families of missionaries. 6 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them.
Lastly, we watched Elder Bednar's "The Character of Christ" devotional last night and it. was. amazing. I invite all of you to find it and read/watch it. No, I challenge you to! "When the natural man would turn inward, let us turn outward". I am nearly out of time, so I can't explain much more. Watch it and be amazed for yourselves :) http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/transcripts/religionsymposium/2003_01_25_bednar.htm
Bon courage a vous tous! Je vous aime!